Understanding holiday drunk driving risk

With the holiday season upon us, understanding the risk of drunk driving accidents at this time of year is very important.

Thanksgiving is the unofficial start to the holiday season that extends all the way through New Year's. For many people in Houston, it is the best time of the year. Festivities abound, decorations light up the streets and hopes are high. Unfortunately, this time of year also brings an increase in the number of serious accidents caused by drunk drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published data comparing 25 non-holiday December dates to holiday December dates between 2001 and 2005. In the former category, 28 percent of all of the deaths attributed to auto collisions involved alcohol. In the latter category, 40 percent of all of the deaths attributed to auto collisions involved alcohol.

A serious problem in Texas

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Texas experienced more deaths due to drinking and driving in 2011 than any other state in the nation. In 2012, there were more than 25,000 drunk driving crashes in the state. These accidents resulted in close to 17,000 injuries and almost 1,300 deaths. The death toll that year represented a seven percent increase over the prior year.

Houston residents especially should take note as the NHTSA records show that Harris County had far and away more deaths in impaired driving crashes than any other county in the state in 2012. Specific records include:

  • In Harris County, 362 people died in automotive accidents and 166 of those deaths involved alcohol.
  • Dallas County had the next highest number of deaths due to drunk driving crashes with 84 such fatalities recorded.
  • In Bexar County, 78 people lost their lives at the hands of drunk drivers.
  • Tarrant County was in the number four position for the most number of drunk driving fatalities with 50 deaths.
  • Statewide, 3,398 people died in motor vehicle accidents and 1,296 of those deaths involved alcohol.

The Texas Department of Transportation offers a more detailed view into the risk of fatalities due to drunk drivers over holiday periods. In 2013, 54 drunk driving deaths happened over the 102 hours noted as the Fourth of July holiday period, 50 drunk driving deaths occurred during the 102 hours attributed to Thanksgiving, 11 drunk driving deaths happened in just 30 hours noted as the Christmas holiday that year and 25 drunk driving deaths resulted in 30 New Year's holiday hours.

Can the trend be stopped?

Protecting against drunk driving accidents may always be a challenge at any time but especially during a holiday period. For this reason, being prepared to contact an attorney for help is a must. The right legal representation is important to secure proper compensation after a serious accident.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury